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Pantech Breeze - white (AT&T) review: Pantech Breeze - white (AT&T)

Pantech Breeze - white (AT&T)

Nicole Lee Former Editor
Nicole Lee is a senior associate editor for CNET, covering cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, and all things mobile. She's also a fan of comic books, video games, and of course, shiny gadgets.
Nicole Lee
5 min read

There are a few key factors when choosing the right phone for the elderly--the handset needs to be easy to use with a minimum of fuss, it should have a bright display with large fonts, the keypad should have large and tactile keys, and call quality needs to be top-notch. Several phones have managed to meet these criteria, including the Verizon Wireless Coupe and the Samsung Jitterbug Dial, but most of them are still pretty basic phones, based on the thesis that senior citizens don't need a lot of features. Enter the Pantech Breeze, a phone definitely focused on ease of use, but one that kicks things up a notch by incorporating a simple VGA camera, multimedia messaging, and even Bluetooth. Pantech and AT&T are marketing the Breeze as a phone ideal for the elderly as well as those with vision problems, but we think the Breeze is such a pleasure to use that it would be great for anyone who wants an excellent entry-level phone. The Breeze is available for $49.99 after a two-year contract and a mail-in rebate.


Pantech Breeze - white (AT&T)

The Good

The Pantech Breeze is an attractively slim flip phone with a large keypad, a display with big fonts, and a really easy-to-use interface. It also has a VGA camera and three quick-call keys for emergency purposes.

The Bad

The Pantech Breeze's quick-call keys are smooth to the surface of the phone, and there's no self-portrait mirror.

The Bottom Line

The Pantech Breeze is definitely ideal for senior citizens and those with disabilities, but it's also an all-around great phone for anyone who wants a decent entry-level handset.

Most entry-level phones aren't too attractive, but the Breeze is an exception. It has a delightfully slim and trim profile, with curved corners and sides. Measuring 3.9 inchs long by 1.97 inches wide by 0.77 inch thick, the Breeze is wrapped in an all-white matte plastic shell and feels nice and light in the hand. The Breeze also comes with a 1.04-inch diagonal external screen, which we like to see on basic phones like this. It supports 65,000 colors and displays information such as date, time, battery, and signal strength, plus photo caller ID. A volume rocker sits on the left spine as does the charger jack. On the back of the phone is the camera lens, but there is no self-portrait mirror.

The Pantech Breeze has a camera lens on the back.

When you open the phone, you'll find a very bright and vibrant 2.2-inch display with 260,000 color support. Images look simply brilliant, with sharp graphics and colors that pop. There are two menu interface styles--"breEZe" mode, which organizes the options in a simple list, and Advanced mode, which is icon-based. When "breEZe" mode is activated, all the menu options are listed in a large yellow font for easier legibility. Regardless of mode though, the submenu options are also all listed in big type. This makes the Breeze incredibly easy to navigate through. You can adjust the backlight time but not the brightness or contrast.

The Pantech Breeze has three quick-call keys underneath the display.

Directly underneath the display is a row of three "quick-call" keys numbered 1, 2, and 3. Each number can be assigned to any contact you want, though we recommend using these quick-call keys for emergency contacts, similar to the emergency buttons on the Verizon Wireless Coupe. To assign a number, you press a quick-call key, select options, and then select Assign Contact. You can even assign a picture for photo caller ID. Though we appreciate the usefulness of having these three dedicated speed-dial keys, we found them a little uncomfortable to access. The keys are directly above the hinge bump, and they are slippery and flat to the surface.

Underneath that is the navigation array, which consists of two soft keys, a four-way toggle, a middle OK key that doubles as the Web browser shortcut, a dedicated speakerphone key, and a Camera shortcut that leads to the Camera menu. The four-way toggle also doubles as shortcuts to a new text message, the alarm clock, the contact list, and the My Stuff menu. Under the navigation array are the Send, Clear, and End/Power keys, plus the alphanumeric keypad. The Clear key doubles as a shortcut to the calendar. We absolutely love the entire keypad and navigation array--all keys are large, well-spaced, with a raised bubblelike texture that make dialing and texting quite easy. You can also toggle an option that makes the phone beep whenever a key is pressed.

Unlike a lot of phones designed for the elderly, the Pantech Breeze is unusually full-featured for an entry-level device. Starting with the basics, the Breeze has a 800-entry phone book, with room in each entry for three numbers, an e-mail address, and an image for photo caller ID. Essentials include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, an alarm, a calendar, a notepad, a voice memo recorder, and a calculator. For slightly more advanced users, there's also text and multimedia messaging, mobile e-mail, instant messaging, a wireless Web browser, plus Bluetooth. It's also a quad-band world phone.

The Breeze also comes with a VGA camera, which is unusual with senior-citizen-focused phones. You can take photos in three different resolutions (640x480, 320x240, 176x220) and three quality settings. Photo quality was predictably blurry and pixilated, but we're surprised by how sharp the colors looked. You can even take short little video clips with the Breeze. Video resolution comes in either 176x144 or 128x96. Similarly, video quality was pretty shoddy, with a lot of blur and pixelation, but it will do for a quick shoot.

Personalization options are quite plentiful with the Breeze. Not only do you get the stock graphics and alert tones, you have the ability to shop for more via the wireless Web browser. Games include demo versions of Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man, Tetris, Platinum Sudoku, and Platinum Solitaire. It also comes with a My-Cast Weather application. As with the graphics and sounds, you can download more games and applications if you wish.

We tested the Pantech Breeze in San Francisco using AT&T. Call quality was very good, with loud and clear voices on both ends. Our callers did hear the occasional static and hiss in the background, but it wasn't too bad. On our end, voices sounded very natural, and volume was definitely loud enough. Similarly, the speakerphone on the Breeze produced very loud volume, with some hissing in the background. On the other end, callers reported more echo and crackling than usual, but that's pretty normal for speakerphones.

The Pantech Breeze has a rated battery life 3 hours talk time and 10.4 days standby time. We were very surprised by the tested talk time of the Pantech Breeze of 11 hours and 5 minutes. According to the FCC, the Pantech Breeze has a SAR rating of 0.74 watt per kilogram.


Pantech Breeze - white (AT&T)

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 8